Sunday, September 20, 1998 11:52:00 PM
From: GSBN@...,Txinfinet Incoming
Subject: Digest for 9/20/98
-> navfac
by David Bainbridge <bainbrid@...>
-> Re: S.B. Noise Reduction Help Wanted
by "Rene Dalmeijer" <rened@...>
-> Re: Re: new government housing program
by Strawnet@...


Date: 20 Sep 1998 14:29:08 -0500
From: David Bainbridge <bainbrid@...>
Subject: navfac

david could you send a ref to the navfac program? contact.

thanks. good to see you, sorry i didnt have more time


David A. Bainbridge
Environmental Studies Program
United States International University
10455 Pomerado Road
San Diego, CA 92131

To have schoolmates come from distant states--is it not a pleasure!
Master Kong (Confucius 550-479BC)


Date: 20 Sep 1998 16:40:46 -0500
From: "Rene Dalmeijer" <rened@...>
Subject: Re: S.B. Noise Reduction Help Wanted

Hello John,

I don't have any db measurements but would like to add a few remarks.
- -----Original Message-----
From: Huff and Puff Constructions <huffnpuff@...>
To: (email address removed)<GSBN@...>
Cc: (email address removed)<strawbale@...>
Date: Friday, September 18, 1998 2:11 AM
Subject: Re: S.B. Noise Reduction Help Wanted

>>The College will be in the middle of a small village with houses on two
>sides. I have replied by stating that 3 foot thick walls, we are
>building with jumbo bales 8' x 3' x 3', will stop any sound.

This is a little steep claim If you are getting in the region of -50 db you
would be doing quite well. Another thing to keep in mind is that the amount
of sound proofing is frequency dependent. High frequencies will be dealt
with quite easily with SB. The problem is low freqyencies
ie lower then 200 Hz. SB can do quite well if you don't make the stucco too
stiff ie avoid cement. While you are at it try and make the weight/
stiffness of the stucco on the exterior and interior different. This avoids
the outer and inner stuccos resonating.

> I will
>challenge the "locals" to run a couple of chain saws inside the building
>when complete. If the noise level is audible inside the neighbours'
>houses then I ain't the straw wolf. The College will have a reciprocal
>recycled steel roof. The walls will be 4.8 meters high (16'), it is a
>round building 15 metres in diameter.
>RED TAPE AGAIN, mulching is too good for some! Anyway I will search the
>archives for sound proof topics, but we did build a straw bale sound
>recording studio in Sydney and they use the three SB rooms for rock band
>practice and recording. NO COMPLAINTS from the neighbours, and it also
>saved them a motza on conventional sound proofing materials.

I once made a temporary rock band practice studio with raw bales it worked
very well. No smoking!!! This put an end to the venue.

>The GOOD NEWS no other objections to building a load bearing straw bale
>factory and other straw bale buildings on our block. Can't wait to get
>started but as with all builders we have to earn a living building straw
>houses for our clients but we will make a start next month once we have
>overcome the noise objections; but Bill Mollison and Permaculture have
>taught me to think in a lateral direction and why not a factory/college
>in the middle of houses, if they look good and serve a purpose, no
>driving to work you know the rest!
I would also like to make some closing remarks avoid at all cost all kinds
of air leaks a vent of only a few mm^2 causes a tremendous loss in sound
proofing. This means forced ventilation.

Windows and frames also have to be dealt with carefully. Ideally the inner
and outer pains have different thicknesses in a ratio 1:1.4 are angled to
each other and don't have a direct mechanical contact. Preferably the window
boxes have separate inner and outer boxes.

Mount vibrating machinery on schock absorbent mounts.

Reducing noise at the sound source is always cheaper then trying to contain
it in a building.

Wish you luck. I strongly support reintroducing industry/manufacture back in
living neighbourhoods. SB even helps planners to be more environmentaly
friendly. We walk to our jobs.

Rene Dalmeijer


Date: 20 Sep 1998 21:38:13 -0500
From: Strawnet@...
Subject: Re: Re: new government housing program

Hi all

Here's a summary of the conversation I had with Deane Evans related to the
PATH initiative. Deane gave a presentation on PATH as part of the program on
Friday morning and I also had about ten minutes to talk with him afterward.
In his presentation he confirmed that PATH has not received its funding yet,
other than a little preliminary money through HUD for putting the framework
together. HUD requested and the House has proposed a $10 million first-year
budget but the Senate zeroed PATH out in their budget. Deane indicated that
there's a reasonably good chance that it will end up being funded at something
close to the $10 million level, but one never knows about these things. The
good news is that Jerry Lewis (Republican Congressman from Southern California
and ranking member of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds HUD is
very supportive of PATH).

PATH stands for Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing and when I was
discussing issues of "appropriate" technology with him, Deane said "it isn't
'advanced' technology, it's 'advancing' technology, so there should be room
for alternatives." Though PATH is being run from within HUD, many Federal
agencies are involved, as well as the private sector, which means that we'll
have to work hard to keep lower-tech alternatives in the mix and getting any
support. There may be some avenues open through some of the potential Native
American projects, one that Deane mentioned that might get support involving a
colonia I believe south of Texas somewhere. He said that if they go forward
with that project, there will definitely be a place for us to plug in.

In talking a little more about the program and how alternative materials and
methods might fit in, it was obvious that it won't be cakewalk. And it isn't
out of a lack of personal understanding or interest on Deane's part, but
rather it's the magnitude of the program and the
technological/industrial/mainstream focus and powers behind it. There are
possibilities for things like straw bale and other alternative technologies to
work into the program and the building technology inventory that they are
developing provides a way to input good info about these alternatives. But
there is a strong emphasis on pursuing ways of cutting costs of housing by
modularizing, industrializing, and minimizing labor in the production of
housing. So alternatives that involve non-standardized materials and labor-
intensive processes will be swimming upstream in this particular river.

On the other hand, I spent a few of my minutes with Deane talking a bit about
Bill and Athena's work in Mexico. I showed Deane some photos of the Save The
Children office building in Ciudad Obregon, Sonora - beautiful photos of a
beautiful low-impact low-cost building. I put it in the context of the
critical need for acceptance of alternatives here in the US as an essential
step in preventing the rejection of those so-called "alternatives" in
developing countries where they are actually the low-cost, low-impact
mainstream building methods in common use today. I said that there are few
countries in the world with the infrastructure, economy, resources, and
technology to possibly replicate mainstream building practice in the US. Here
we have an abundance of resources, access to technology, and a very expensive
and inadequate labor force. That is not the case in most of the rest of the
world, where labor is abundant and cheap, resources and technology scarce and
expensive. To reject the appropriate low-tech, labor intensive but resource-
efficient building systems that are indigenous in favor of our inappropriate
high-impact high-cost building technologies is irresponsible at best and
surely disasterous in almost every aspect. I said I was very concerned that
there is no voice for that point of view in anything I hear at any level of
the national housing initiatives, the code development efforts, or anything
having to do with trade and economic development. Deane said that,
personally, he agreed with everything I said, but he was going to struggle to
find the way to fit it into what they're doing with PATH. I said that he'd
keep hearing from me about it and that my mission was to keep bringing it
forward until that awareness and larger context is part of what is being

I finished by telling my little rap about what "appropriate" technology is
about, in terms of the level of technology that gets used. I said that though
we think we know what the consequences of our actions are, we are in fact
closer to total ignorance than total understainding. We know very little
about what actually happens as a result of our choices and actions, but we
live with the myth that we know and that we are in control. I suggested that
we need to honor that ignorance and realize that coming along with higher
levels of technology are higher levels of unintended consequences and that
appropriate technology could be defined as the lowest level of technology that
can be used to do well what needs to be done, instead of using the highest
level of available technology, which is what we're trained to do in this
culture. Part of the decision-making matrix we use should be an intention to
minimize, rather than ignore, the unintentional consequences of what we're

Deane said he found that a fascinating idea and said he hoped I will keep in
touch. He said that I should send some more information on these things and
on the codes work as well. I think it was well received. Sometimes I worry
that I may be a bit too evangelical, but I can't help myself. I feel so
strongly that the people who are making these decisions need to be pulled out
of the box on a regular basis, and I seem to be repeatedly presented with
opportunities to talk with these folks. I hope that is a sign that we're on
the right track. Thanks to Owen for kicking this issue out into the light and
triggering a more focused interaction with Deane than might otherwise have

I'll try to keep you all posted on the events as they unfold - and hopefully
find ways to plug a lot of us into various roles and tasks that need to be
attended to. Sorry to take up so much bandwidth here.



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